New at beekeeping
by Cecil Jones
(Johannesburg, South Africa)
Removing honey from supers
I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and have a farm, some 1100km away on the southern coast of the Eastern Cape province.
In 2010 I attended a beekeepers course and bought a starter kit along with 2 hives. Initially very skeptical about beekeeping I placed both hives under a very large yellow wood tree quite near to my house on the farm.
Within 2 weeks wild swarms had moved into both hives, however it was short lived because the 1 colony apparently did not get on with their neighbors and decided to move on, hence one empty hive.
Not living permanently on the farm and only visiting the farm every second month I never really got the opportunity to inspect the hives mainly because of bad weather whenever I was on the farm for a short weekend.
I recently inspected the hives and removed some of the supers to get the honey (see attached pics). All went well in the removal of the supers and replacing them with new ones from the empty hive.
Not having the correct equipment for collecting the honey from the supers, I ended up cutting the comb off the supers and placing it in a basin to slowly drip off. I had used a long sharp knife to cut through the comb.
Does anyone have any other idea as to remove the honey more efficiently, besides using a honey extractor?
Thanks for relating your beekeeping experiences in South Africa.
Hopefully others will offer suggestions for processing honey; they can add their suggestions by adding comments to this page.
But here's one method you might want to try:
Cut the honeycomb off the frame, as you did, and place it in a bowl. Mash it up thoroughly, so that you have a gruel of honey and wax bits.
Pour the honey mixture into a large mason jar (the kind with a 2-piece lid).
Cover the mouth of a second jar (same size) with fine screen mesh, such as mosquito netting. Don't make the mesh covering taut; allow it to sag down into the jar a bit.
Dampen the mesh just a little, and screw the lid ring over it. (You'll use only the ring portion of the 2-piece lid, leaving off the cover). Also screw the lid ring over the jar containing the honey.
Now invert the jar with the honey over the empty jar with the mesh, so that the jars are mouth-to-mouth. Form a seal between the 2 jars by wrapping the junction with duct tape.
Flip the 2 jars so that the jar with honey is on top, draining through the filter into the bottom jar. It will probably take an hour or two, but you'll end up with clear, filtered honey in the bottom jar, and just the beeswax in the top jar.
This method of honey harvesting wouldn't be effective on a large scale, of course, but for just a small amount of honey it should work fine.
You can go to this site for more detailed instructions and photos of the process.